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Tips to Make Daylight Savings Time Transition as Smooth as Possible

Humans are diurnal. This means that, through evolution, we have developed a day-night rhythm of activity during the day and quiet at night. Both internal ("body clock") factors and external (hours of daylight) play a role, so a change like daylight savings time can influence how both parents and children behave and feel.

Here are a few tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible:

Tips for Parents of Children Under 5:

  • Focus less on explaining the time change and more on arranging the environment around them.
  • Keep routines the same (even if that means having dinner earlier than usual for a few days) to provide a sense of continuity to the child. Gradually adjust schedules to make up the difference in time.
  • Parents can expect bedtime and wake up times may be a little more unpredictable for a week or so following the start of Daylight Savings Time. Room-darkening shades that block out the outside light changes can help with the transition.

Tips for Parents of Older Children:

  • By the age of 6 or so, parents can alert and anticipate the change with their kids in simple, concrete ways. Focus on relating the time change to the children's schedule. For example, since kids this age enjoy counting, parents can encourage kids to count the hours of daylight between lunch and bedtime or point out there is "more light outside" when the child wakes up.
  • Kids can help their parents reset the clock at home to make it more real. And here in the United States, parents can relate it to the climate – more darkness means colder weather; more daylight in warmer weather means more after-school outdoor play!

Rest assured that kids are quite resilient, so the disruption to the entire family should be rather brief.

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